Test Match Sofa
O'Brien confirms move to Leicestershire
By Paul Bolton, County News Correspondent
Leicestershire have signed Ireland international wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien from Northamptonshire on a three-year contract.
O’Brien had a year remaining on his contract with Northamptonshire but was given permission to speak to other counties following the emergence of England Under-19 international Ben Duckett.
O’Brien, 30, joined Northamptonshire from Kent five years ago but lost his first team place to David Murphy for much of the second half of last season although he was selected as a specialist batsman in the final month of the campaign.
Northamptonshire have used some of the money freed up by O’Brien’s departure to sign Duckett and three more promising youngsters - off-spinner Rob Keogh, and batsmen Christian Davis and James Kettleborough.
Keogh and Davis already have senior experience and Davis, a former Bedford School pupil, impressed by making a stylish half-century in the Clydesdale Bank 40 defeat by Kent at Wantage Road in late August.
Kettleborough, a former Bedford School captain, has played Minor Counties cricket for Bedfordshire since 2009 and he scored heavily for Northamptonshire’s second team last season.
“It’s sad to see Niall leave the club as he has been a big part of the changing room since he arrived from Kent,” said Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley.
“He has found himself out of the side at times this season through form, fitness and international commitments, meaning the club couldn’t offer him the role he wants. He’s now found some personal security in Leicestershire’s offer of a three-year deal and we wish him well for his future.
“Ben Duckett has had a very exciting 12 months. He has looked very assured in the second team environment, made his first team debut and forced his way into the England Under-19 World Cup team as a 17-year-old. He has all the ingredients to become a top class wicketkeeper-batsman.
“James Kettleborough is a player who has shown he can score big hundreds in the second XI. He’s always been a prolific run-scorer and we’re looking forward to him becoming an important member of the team and pushing for first team opportunities.
“Rob Keogh has shown good improvement over the last 12 months in his all-round game and in his overall attitude to cricket. We feel Rob will be able to contribute in all formats of the game, and we’re particularly excited about him pushing on with his batting and fighting for a place in the top three positions in four-day cricket.
“Christian Davis has been with us for a very long time, and showed all his real ability versus Kent last season, which is very exciting. We will look at building that level of consistency in his cricket to catapult him into and around the first team.”
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